Bird flu reported in Kerala’s Alapuzzha. How to stay safe?

Bird flu was confirmed in ducks reared in two areas of Alappuzha district of Kerala.

The Alappuzha District Collector decided to initiate the process of killing and destroying (culling) domestic birds within a radius of one kilometre from the epicentre(Representative photo)

Kerala’s Alappuzha district has been hit by a bird flu outbreak with the disease reported in two places, PTI reported.

According to the report, bird flu was confirmed in ducks reared in an area of ward 1 of Edathva Grama Panchayat and another area in ward 3 of Cheruthana Grama Panchayat.

Bird flu was confirmed after the samples of the ducks showing symptoms sent to a lab in Bhopal for testing. A district administration official confirmed that samples tested positive for avian influenza (H5N1).

As per an action plan of the Centre, a meeting chaired by the District Collector decided to initiate the process of killing and destroying (culling) domestic birds within a radius of one kilometer from the epicenter, the PTI report added.

A Rapid Action Force will be formed and related preparations will be completed by the Animal Welfare Department as soon as possible, the official said. The Alapuzzha district administration said there is no need to panic unnecessarily as there is no possibility of the disease transmitting to humans.

What is bird flu?

Avian influenza or bird flu is a respiratory condition brought on by infection with a specific type of influenza virus frequently seen in domestic poultry including ducks, chickens, geese etc.

There is little chance of human infection, but incidents of bird flu viruses have been reported in people who often interact with poultry or wild birds. Human infections due to avian flu have resulted in illness from mild cases with no symptoms to fatal cases of severe diseases.

The other symptoms include eye redness, mild illness, fever, cough, sore throat etc.

Recently, experts have raised concerns over rapid spread of the avian flu, predicting that it may lead to an exceptionally high fatality rate and can be “100 times worse than the Covid pandemic”.

“We are not really talking about a virus that is yet to make a jump, we are talking about a virus that is globally present, already infecting a range of mammals and is circulating… It is really high time that we are prepared,” Dr Suresh Kuchipudi, a bird flu researcher in Pittsburg, United States, was quoted by Daily Mail as saying.

How to prevent bird flu?

It is advisable to wear gloves while cleaning and preparing the chicken meat. You must use hot and soapy water to wash the cutting boards, utensils and all the surfaces that came into contact with raw poultry.

You must cook chicken until the juices run clear and reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 F (74C).

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